The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event - Page 25 - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #241 of 1075 Old 10-21-13, 11:53 AM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

An EVALUATION vs a shootout is a brilliant idea. We all know that everyone has different tastes as well as different levels of listening skills, so this is a great way to get a broad sampling of opinions on the same sets of speakers. It's especially helpful for me because I have abysmal listening skills. LOL To me, it's very similar to wine tasting. I know there are people out there that can specifically and accurately point out all the little nuances and tonal differences between vintages and all that, but that ability boarders on magic to me, because I don't have the slightest idea on how to even begin to do that. It's the same with speakers. I stand next to people in a sound studio, or demo room and hear them saying things like, "Oh man! Listen to low end!" or "Wow! I'm surprised the highs flatten out like that." and don't have the SLIGHTEST idea of what the they're even talking about. LOL

ME? All I hear is a Frank Sinatra song, or whatever happens to be playing. Yeah different speakers can sound a little different - but for me, I just don't hear a difference between a $20 no name wall speaker and a $400 Bose wall speaker(of the same shape and size) to justify the price difference. THIS I believe is rock solid evidence of my OVERWHELMING level of ignorance in this area, and why an EVALUATION vs a shootout is infinitely more helpful to guys like me. Telling me X is better than Y, is of no use - if I don't agree. But telling me WHY X sounds better to you than Y does - now THAT is helpful.

Thanks for helping me learn!
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post #242 of 1075 Old 10-21-13, 12:00 PM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

Between the earlier $1K price range and now the $2k budget I'd venture a guess that you have a large majority of us HTS "lurkers" covered - thanks for doing this and looking forward to the results.

For speaker comparisons, I think the choice of 2-channel over a 5/6/7.1 setup is actually quite brillant, less (speakers) is more (emphasis on the speakers themselves). And drawing from a panel of listeners just helps to raise confidence in the overall opinions expressed even more.

BTW, if at all possible, in addition to any "Good Demo Music" choices you receive, would it be possible to also incorporate the music selections used during the $1K eval? I know they're different animals, but it's still might help to fix an addition variable between the $1K & 2K evals.

Thanks.
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post #243 of 1075 Old 10-21-13, 12:03 PM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

I am really looking forward to this shootout, as the $1000 shootout was extremely helpful to me in my recent speaker purchase, both in shopping and in knowing what to listen for. Thanks!
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post #244 of 1075 Old 10-21-13, 12:04 PM
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It is events like this that make HOME THEATRE SHACK who they are, for too long now many people such as myself have taken the word of other "corporate" magazines as gospel. Events like this where real people will evaluate the contenders for what they are and not the company that has produced them is what makes HTS special. Personally i had wanted the Tannoy speakers to be in the line up,however i am quite interested as to how the svs speakers will fair against the competition as these would be a nice match for my svs subwoofers. Over here in the uk it is hard to demo svs products as dealers are few and far between so a well evaluated opinion would be fantastic.Keep up the good work guys!
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post #245 of 1075 Old 10-21-13, 12:28 PM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

These kinds of reviews and evaluations are a ton of fun to pore over! I can only hope that someday I can build up a setup like some of these here!!!
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post #246 of 1075 Old 10-21-13, 12:43 PM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

As a long time Maggie owner, and a fanboy, I will be interested to find out how the new Maggies match up. For music, I have not had a speaker in my room that out performed the 3.6s. There used to be more get togethers in the Atlanta area, but not so much anymore. It was always interesting to go to another HT and see and hear others set ups. And also to compare gear in a decent listening environment.

Look forward to results.
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post #247 of 1075 Old 10-21-13, 01:01 PM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

I'm not really familiar with a few of these speakers in the shootout, so I'm quite excited to see how they stack up against the products that I am more familiar with! Wish I had the cash to do a shootout of my own! That would be fun!
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post #248 of 1075 Old 10-21-13, 01:33 PM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

Well I wanted to check out this thread, but I didn't expect there would be 250+ posts in 2 1/2 days! I sorted through most of them. It's great to see so much interest and participate.

I've been looking forward to this evaluation since the $1000 event impressions were posted. You guys are taking on a lot of stuff for this one. It's a lot of work and fun, so I'm not sure whether to be jealous or sympathetic. Okay, I'm jealous!

I hope that you will feel comfortable making comments about how these speakers compare to the Arx A5 that Sonnie obviously has hanging around in his room. Seems like it will be competitive in some or many cases and/or specific areas of sound reproduction with the speakers in this competition.

I look forward to the impressions and thank Sonnie and the staff participants for providing an evaluation and comparison that simply cannot be found anywhere else in the press. It's a boon for us enthusiasts and for manufacturers with quality, competitive products.
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post #249 of 1075 Old 10-21-13, 01:34 PM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

Like several others who have replied, I'm most intrested in the Maggies and how they compare to both the Martin Logans and the conventional speakers.I'd love to get the chance to hear some of these comparisons.
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post #250 of 1075 Old 10-21-13, 01:44 PM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

Just scanning recent questions, mostly already answered by Sonnie, and have a few thoughts to add concerning the upcoming event...

Room Treatment: Sonnie's room was already a very nice room before the August $1K Speaker Eval event, with full carpeting, bass traps, properly spaced panels on side walls and elsewhere - a good balance of absorption where needed with enough liveness for the room to not sound sterile as a listening room. A few more absorptive panels were strategically added before we started. And as we analyzed REW impulse diagrams while finishing up, we were able to determine a few more reflection paths that needed attention, including spots on side walls that were not a problem for his cinema setup but which were early reflection points for the two-channel setup, and several longer paths with big reflections all involving the rear wall. It is my understanding that Sonnie intends to have additional treatments om place to resolve those issues before the upcoming evaluations.

Seating Reflections: The impulse diagrams showed early reflections in the one-to-three second region that could only be coming from seating surfaces around the main listening position. We hope to spend some time experimenting with treatments that will help with those reflections, and will report on what we come up with.

Adjusting Speakers for Individual Listeners: Height relative to the listener is probably the main variable to consider, but is difficult to do much about with most tower speakers. Luckily, the range of heights of the evaluators is not too broad, and we are all fairly tall, Joe (ALMFamily) the tallest at about 6' 4". We do a lot of moving around at the LP during setup to make sure the sweet spot is centered at a comfortable happy medium sitting position for all involved. If a speaker design does not accommodate that height, then it has a problem and that will count against it - none of us are giants. Of course many potential listeners are going to be a little shorter than that, but seated ear height tends not to vary more than a few inches for most.

All that said, soundstage in particular can be fairly sensitive to relative ear height, and it is a variable worth keeping in mind. But adjusting the speakers for each listener, if even possible, would take too long - again, if a speaker in this price range is THAT hard to get positioned, it is a usability problem.

Comparing to the ARX A5s: Absolutely! The home spot for the A5s is clearly marked, and we will start with them as a reference point, and perhaps finish up with a final comparison as well.

Using SACD or Surround Mixes: Surround mixes tend to dilute the role of the front left & right mains. The quality surround mixes that I am familiar with actually diminish the role of soundstage somewhat as the center channel is relied upon more than phantom imaging - the result being that the soundstage is usually small with little depth. It is a different way of mixing, and while surround mixes can be a lot of fun, they usually are not revealing about speakers in a way that stereo mixes are. SACD or hi-res mixes would be good to include at some point, but we will need to figure out how to manage them gracefully. As Sonnie responded earlier, we are trying to keep the test tracks as easy to work with as possible at this point, using media and playback hardware that is know to be as near error-free as possible.

Evaluating Amps &/or Cables: It would be a lot of fun to get into, and I hope we do at some point, but it opens up many entirely new cans of worms complexity- and time-wise. We have talked about it, but are not near ready to jump into it. We would need additional equipment and would need to work it into our processes.

And, believe me, there is no such thing as a "quick" version of anything in these evaluations. We are painstaking about every step, taking measurements (dimensions and REW plots), carefully taking notes, making sure anything we do is recorded and can be repeated. And the time does fly. One little hitch and suddenly we are behind schedule an hour or two. In August, we had to forgo Sonnie BBQing for us - and that was no small sacrifice - to get done in the time we had.

Evaluator Background Info: Good idea. Maybe we can work that into the final writeup or perhaps into a separate bio section somewhere.

More Pictures, Maybe a Video or Two? We talked about it while preparing for the $1K event, but got overwhelmed and it just did not happen. There was even a thought of streaming a live webcam view of the room over a JustinTV channel. Lighting is subdued and might not be suitable for that. A few short videos via smartphone might be manageable, and more still pics. No promises - the audio comes first.
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